The Best Books of 2014

December 22, 2014
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“Best,” from the Old English betest (adjective), betost, betst (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German best, also “to better.”*

*To better your end-of-the-year book perusing considerations, here’s a list of our titles we were geeked to see on many of the year’s Best of 2014 lists, from non-fiction inner-city ethnographies to the taxonomies of beetle sheaths:

John Drury’s Music at Midnight was named one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal.

Alice Goffman’s On the Run was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review, one of only two university press books on the list, and one of the 30 best nonfiction books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly.

Rachel Sussman’s Oldest Living Things in the World was named one of the 100 best books of 2014 by Amazon, was one of three Chicago books on the Wall Street Journal’s six-book list of the Best Nature Gift Books of 2014, and topped Maria Popova’s list of the year’s best art, design, and photo books at Brainpickings.

Mark E. Hauber’s The Book of Eggs was one of three Chicago books on the Wall Street Journal’s six-book list of the Best Nature Gift Books of 2014.

Helen and William Bynum’s Remarkable Plants that Shape Our World was one of three Chicago books on the Wall Street Journal’s six-book list of the Best Nature Gift Books of 2014, was named by the Guardian’s Grrl Scientist to her list of the year’s best science books, and was named to the Globe and Mail’s Best Gift Books list for 2014.

Sylvia Sumira’s Globes was named one of the best gift books of the year in the design category by the Wall Street Journal.

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi’s House of Debt was named one of the best economics books of the year by the Financial Times.

Patrice Bouchard’s Book of Beetles was named one of the best science books of the year by Wired and was named to the Globe and Mail‘s Best Gift Books list for 2014.

Scott Richard Shaw’s Planet of the Bugs was named by the Guardian’s Grrl Scientist to her list of the year’s best science books.

James W. P. Campbell’s The Library was named to Buzzfeed’s 47 Incredibly Unique Books to Buy Everyone on Your List.

Howard S. Becker’s What About Mozart? What About Murder? was named a Book of the Year by two different contributors to the Times Higher Education.

Marta Gutman’s A City for Children was named a Book of the Year by the Times Higher Education. 

Retha Edens-Meier and Peter Bernhardt’s Darwin’s Orchids was named one of the best science books for the holidays by American Scientist.

Donald Westlake’s The Getaway Car was named to the Favorite Books of 2014 list by Christianity Today’s Books and Culture magazine and one of the five best suspense books to give as gifts this year in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row supplement.

Philip Ball’s Serving the Reich was named by Physics World as one of the top ten physics books of 2014.

Barbara Taylor’s The Last Asylum was named one of the Guardian’s best psychology books for 2014, one of the Guardian‘s Best Books of 2014 (twice!), and a Book of the Year by two contributors to the Times Higher Education.

Five books in paperback by Peter De Vries made William Giraldi’s Year in Reading list for the Millions.

Peggy Shinner’s You Feel So Mortal was recommended as a gift book in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row supplement.

Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett’s Lost Classroom, Lost Community was named the best book of the year by Education Next.

Happy holidays! Buy a book!

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